Morning Bible Study
– Sept. 11 – Next week. Have
you been baptized? Celebration of changed lives. We will have the Spanish
Fellowship with us. Bounce house &
water slide for the kids.
apostle has been exiled to the island of Patmos where he is given a “Revelation” by Jesus Christ
John sees a vision of Jesus walking among lampstands. We’ve seen this as a
picture of Jesus acting as a priest,
and every day the priests would go into the Holy Place to clean, refill, and
relight the lamps in the Temple. We are
seeing Him do this in our church this week.
The churches are the lamps. The cleaning and refilling of the lamps are
what is taking place as Jesus writes seven letters to seven churches.
:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things
says He who is holy, He who is true, “He
who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no
– Philadelpheia – “brotherly love”
When we think of “Philadelphia”,
we might think of things like the Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklin, or even
Rocky. But THAT Philadelphia was named
after this city in ancient Asia Minor (or, Turkey).
“Philadelphia Map” video
The city was established in 189 BC by King Eumenes II of Pergamos. Because
he loved his brother, he gave the city this name “Brotherly Love”
We’ve followed the letters that John wrote to the seven churches from the
island of Patmos. Philadelphia is the
Today, the ruins of a small theater located at the northern edge of Toptepe
Hill is all that remains of Philadelphia from John’s day.
The area is known for its earthquakes.
Several times the city has been destroyed by earthquakes.
Today, the Turkish city of Alasehir, population 39,000 (in 1990) sits on
top of what was ancient Philadelphia.
:7 He who is holy,
He who is true
From time to time you and I will be disappointed in leaders who we have
found out are not as pure as we thought they were.
We are disappointed when people have been less than honest with us.
But make no
mistake, this is not who Jesus is.
Jesus is holy, pure,
Jesus is true.
The word for
“true” (alethinos) means literally
Jesus has no hidden agenda. He has
no facts that He’s lied about. He is not
withholding information you need to know.
He is true.
:7 … “He who has the key of David,
He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”:
:7 He who has the key of David
This seems to
be a reference to a prophecy given by Isaiah regarding the leaders in the
government of King Hezekiah. One of Hezekiah’s leaders, Shebna, would be disgraced and brought down
because of his pride. The other, Eliakim, would take
Shebna’s place and be given great authority.
God’s word to Eliakim was:
(Is 22:22 NKJV) The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he
shall open, and no one shall shut; And he shall shut, and no one shall open.
The “house of David” refers to the king of Judah (descended from King
have all the authority of the king. He
would have the ability to make things happen – to open and shut whatever he
Jesus is the one with this “key”.
Jesus Himself is a descendant of David and is reminding the church that He
has the authority of the king of Israel.
He is the king of Israel. He is
the king of the universe.
He is the one who has the keys to open and shut, to make things happen.
:8 “I know your
works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you
have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
:8 an open door
Jesus is the
one who has opened a door for the church.
He has the key.
What is an “open door”
An open door speaks of an “opportunity”.
This church has taken advantage of the opportunity before them.
Sometimes as we
are trying to figure out the Lord’s will for our lives, we look for “open
Paul was in
Ephesus writing to the Corinthians
and telling them about his upcoming travel plans through Macedonia.
(1 Co 16:5–9
NKJV) —5 Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am
passing through Macedonia). 6
And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you,
that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not wish to see you now on the
way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will tarry in
Ephesus until Pentecost. 9
For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many
Why was Paul staying in Ephesus until Pentecost? Because a door was “open” for him.
But “open” didn’t mean “easy”. There was opportunity in Ephesus, but there
was also “adversaries”
Paul had already told the Corinthians that staying in
Ephesus involved fighting with “wild beasts” (whatever that meant).
When we are trying to discern God’s will for our lives,
one of the ways God leads us is with “open doors”, but an open door is simply an opportunity
itself. It may be easy. It may be difficult. But it is open.
Work the Door
I think it’s important that as a church we keep learning how to “work the
open door”. Kind of like a Wal-Mart
Harry, a new
retiree greeter at Wal-Mart, just couldn’t seem to get to work on time. Every
day he was 5, 10, 15 minutes late. But he was a good worker, really tidy, clean
shaven, sharp minded and a real
credit to the company and obviously demonstrating their ‘Older Person Friendly’
policies. One day the boss called him into the office for a talk. ‘Harry, I
have to tell you, I like your work ethic, you do a bang up job, but your being
late so often is quite bothersome.’
‘Yes, I know, boss, and I am working on it.’ ‘Well good, you are a team
player. That’s what I like to hear. It’s odd though, your coming in late. I know you’re retired from the Armed Forces.
What did they say if you came in late there?’
‘Good morning, General, coffee this morning, sir?”
Our friends at Harvest Crusade have taught us a little about open doors. Do you remember these suggestions from last
month’s Anaheim Crusade?
lived in the 19th century. He
is known for the orphanages he built, caring for more than 10,000 orphans in
his lifetime. He didn’t take advantage
of the orphans like some did, but instead he was actually accused of raising
the poor above their natural station in life.
all, George Mueller was known as a man of prayer. He prayed about all kinds of things and God
would respond to George’s prayers.
George had a couple of friends that he prayed would one
day receive Christ. He prayed for these
two friends regularly for over fifty years.
Just before George Mueller
died, one of the friends finally became a Christian. The other one became a Christian shortly
after Mueller died.
Jesus is the one with the keys to the doors.
When we pray, He responds.
Doors are unlocked.
Open doors are opportunities to take advantage of.
How many of you have access to the internet? How about Facebook?
I have to admit I’m probably not the biggest fan of
Facebook. I’m not really interested in
knowing how many pancakes you had for breakfast.
I’m beginning to realize as my “friends” list is growing, that there is
an opportunity here. An open door.
I was surprised to realize that my “friends” list is 3x
the size of the church. I have
opportunities to influence others.
you know that if you “like” something, that your friends will see it on their
are some ministries like Harvest Crusade that have Facebook links on their
webpages, emails, and webcasts. If you “like” them, then
your friends might be curious enough to check it out.
church has a separate Facebook page that you can “like”
I’m putting my pastor to person articles directly on
Facebook – the same idea – if you “like” the article, your friends might be
curious enough to read it.
are starting to webcast our services on Ustream. We’ve had our problems getting it up, but I
think we’re 90% there. If you are encouraged
by a message, you can hunt it down the archive on Ustream and “like” it, and
your friends will be able to find it.
think God has opened a huge door on Facebook.
Your “friends” are most likely people you have some
influence over. It’s not too hard to
click “like” and influence others.
NOTE1: Don’t just be religious. It’s okay for your friends to know that you
like Del Taco or go to Angels’ games.
Let them know you’re real too.
NOTE2: Be careful about over doing it. I’ve had “friends” who put up a new Bible
verse every two minutes. If you do too
much, people stop paying attention (I’ve even “unfriended” a few myself).
When Jesus met the Samaritan
woman at the well, she was so impressed with Jesus that she went into the city
and told the people she had influence with – the men – and invited them to come
and see Jesus.
NKJV) —28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city,
and said to the men, 29
“Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be
the Christ?” 30 Then they
went out of the city and came to Him.
Bring your friends to church. Bring
them Saturday to the Harvest Crusade at Dodger Stadium. Bring them to the baptism.
:8 for you have a
little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
:8 a little
Here is one of the marvelous secrets about this faithful church.
mikros (“micron”) – small, little
We can fool ourselves into thinking that God only uses BIG churches or FAMOUS
pastors. We are wrong if we think that.
Weak but faithful
The secret about Philadelphia was not their strength, but their
decided to feed lunch to the thousands that had been listening to Him all day,
He asked the disciples to take care of it.
Philip got out his calculator and figured out how much the meal would cost
and declared that it was impossible.
Andrew was the one who found an answer, though he wasn’t too sure:
(Jn 6:9 NKJV) “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small
fish, but what are they among so many?”
We know what Jesus did.
Jesus took the little boy’s small lunch and ended up doing an incredible
thing – feeding the five thousand with just a couple of fish and loaves of
God’s desire is only that we be faithful. It only takes a “little” strength.
:9 Indeed I will
make those of the synagogue of Satan,
who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and
worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.
:9 the synagogue of
There was a synagogue of Jews in Philadelphia just like there were in many
When the gospel first went out to the world, the apostles always preached
first in the synagogues, trying to reach the Jews first with the message that
the Messiah had come.
Jews welcomed the gospel (like in Berea), sometimes they became trouble to the early church
(like here in Philadelphia).
Jesus promises that at the end of time, these people will realize that
Jesus was indeed the true Messiah. Paul
(Php 2:10–11 NKJV) —10
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of
those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
There are people who give you a hard time for being a Christian.
One day they will realize that it was all true. That doesn’t mean that they will be saved. All will one day bow, either willingly or
forcedly. We pray that they will bow to
Jesus now willingly.
:10 Because you
have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial
which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
:10 keep you from
the hour of trial
The hour of “trial that is coming” might be a little unclear if it weren’t
for the fact that we are reading this in the book of Revelation.
This “hour” is
a reference to the time we call “The Tribulation”, which is detailed out
starting in Revelation 6.
Some have suggested that this is a promise for God to protect the faithful
church “through” the Tribulation, as if the church will go through the
The problem is that the language does not bear it out.
to keep us “from”, or “out of”, or “away from” the Tribulation.
I believe this is a clear promise that the faithful church will be snatched away in the
Rapture, and it will take place before the Tribulation starts.
:11 Behold, I
am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
– lambano – to take; to take by craft
(used of hunters, fisherman)
– stephanos – the wreath which was
given as a prize to victors in public games
The New Testament uses this word in several different ways.
There is a
crown of righteousness (2Ti. 4:8),
a “crown of life” (Jam. 1:12),
and a “crown of glory” (1Pet. 5:4)
These might refer to the same thing, like our eternal life. They may refer to different kinds of rewards we receive in
heaven for our faithfulness.
:11 take your crown
We have an
enemy that wants to rip us off. Jesus
(Jn 10:10 NKJV) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to
destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more
Our enemy is more
than a tame little kitty cat.
(1 Pe 5:8 NKJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks
about like a roaring
lion, seeking whom he may devour.
(1 Co 9:24–27 NKJV) —24
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the
prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is
temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we
for an imperishable crown. 26
Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who
beats the air. 27 But I
discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to
others, I myself should become disqualified.
Don’t allow anyone to take your crown from you. Don’t disqualify yourself.
:12 He who overcomes,
I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.
I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the
New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
– stulos – a pillar; a column
It’s kind of odd,
but when you see ancient ruins, often cities destroyed by earthquakes, it’s not
uncommon for a pillar to be standing there all by itself.
Philadelphia was a city that knew about earthquakes.
The reward for overcomers
is this: as a “pillar” in God’s temple, our
faithfulness allows us to withstand the earthquakes, the things that shake and
ruin other people.
:12 I will write on
him the name
I often think
about how we write our kids’ names on the inside of their jackets so they
wouldn’t lose the jackets at school.
Jesus will write God’s name on us. Maybe we don’t have to
worry about being “lost”?
They also wrote
names on pillars as well.
At Euromos (in
Asia Minor), there is an ancient temple to Zeus. All that’s standing are the pillars … on the
columns there are names inscribed.
In the synagogue
at Capernaum, you will find inscriptions on some of the pillars, usually a list
of who donated to build the synagogue.
:13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The message to Philadelphia: Stay faithful
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